The following day being Monday, Oleng had to go back to school. Her third term promotion exams were the following week but she couldn’t read. She kept remembering that night and that Eric was leaving in two days. She couldn’t tell Zinny and Marvy what transpired between Eric and her that night. It seemed too private and sacred to be shared with anyone.
Great was her joy when Eric called her to inform her that he would be leaving on Sunday instead of the proposed Wednesday because his parents had decided to go with him. His dad’s leave was going to begin the following week and his mum had taken permission from the ministry where she worked to see him off too. They were both joyous.
They spent their evenings together after school where Eric always put her through with her studies. She was able to study with him around though sometimes their love got in the way and they would end up kissing before catching themselves and continue to study.
On his last day in Nigeria, Eric persuaded his parents to allow him spend the whole day with Oleng. His mother protested as usual but his dad made her see reason with him. Oleng was his best friend and they wouldn’t see each other in a long while. Moreover, didn’t she trust her son anymore? Mrs. Sokipirim Conrad had agreed then. She told him before he left that she trusted him and knew Oleng’s mum wouldn’t bring Oleng to come and live with them some months from now saying she was expecting her first grand child. Eric had chuckled then. If only his mum knew what had happened the previous Saturday, she would have chained him to his bed. She didn’t, so he joyfully went to his girlfriend’s place. That was what she was now and he loved her dearly.
He was grateful for the umpteenth time for the fact that his parents weren’t the conventional Nigerian parents and allowed him to get away with a lot of things society would have frowned at. He believed it was because his parents had spent so many years abroad before settling in Nigeria, so they didn’t see anything wrong in a girl being his best friend and for them to be so close.
He got to her place and as usual to his joy, Tessy had finally traveled home while her mum wasn’t back from Dubai. As he expected, Oleng wasn’t in a happy mood. He tried making her happy but she kept bringing up his going away. He finally told her to dress up because he wanted them to go to that photo studio in Waterlines again so he could get her recent pictures to show to Damian and guys over there that his girlfriend was an African queen. She smiled then.
They went to the place and snapped some intimate pictures together. They stopped by Chicken Republic and bought some snacks. They devoured them when they got back to her place. They sat on the rugged floor listening to cool music and holding hands. As she usually did, Oleng dug her hands in his pockets to check what he had in them and as usual he struggled for her not to get to them. She ended up on top of him. They gazed into each other’s eyes and started kissing. Oleng broke the passionate kiss.
“We shouldn’t.” she stressed in an undertone.
“I know but that doesn’t stop me from wanting you.” he drawled huskily, touching the nose he was so fond of.
“Me too but we shouldn’t.”
“Okay.” he conceded grudgiling but yelled, “No!” when she playfully thrust her hand in his pockets. She quickly got up and he did the same. When she realized what she was holding, she immediately dropped it. Eric quickly picked up the pack of condoms and put it in his pocket again. Silence took over the atmosphere.
“Where did you get it from?” she demanded curtly. He kept her quiet.
Her brown eyes flashed anger. “Don’t tell me you got it from Eddy!”
“Of course not. I got it from Damian.”
“Damian? Is he back?”
“No. He told me where to get it in his room.”
“That means you actually told him what happened between us. How could you? I thought it was sacred.” she launched back furiously at him in ringing disbelief. Eric went closer to her.
“It was sacred but I couldn’t handle it alone. I had to tell someone because the beautiful experience was almost driving me crazy. I had to confide in my brother on how to get self control because I felt like making love to you everyday.
Desiring you was driving me crazy. I had to do something and who could I tell but my elder brother who is experienced in such things? It wasn’t as if I wanted to brag about it like Eddy. I just needed help. Besides, Damian won’t tell anyone.” he explained drily.
Oleng was silent. She sent him a frowning appraisal before quietly admitting, “I felt like sharing it with someone too but there was no one to share it with. I don’t think Zinny and Marvy will understand and I don’t trust Tessy enough to tell her.” She shyly smiled. “I have wanted a repeat performance of what happened on Saturday but I thought it was abnormal for me. As you know, I’m not experienced in such areas.”
“Neither am I. Sunshine………If it’s any consolation to you, you were my first.” he asserted with coolness. She looked sharply at him.
“You thought I was experienced?” His mouth quirked.
“With friends like Eddy………..and…..and…..the way you touched me and made…..” she trailed off and shrugged.
“I watched a pornographic movie I found in Damian’s box a while back. Eddy is the only experienced one among us. How could I go fooling around when I had my missing rib?”
“It didn’t stop Eddy from fooling around even though he had feelings for Zinny.”
“If you haven’t noticed honey, I’m not Eddy.” he drawled seductively and moved closer to her. She raised her head to look at him and tears rolled down her eyes.
“I’m going to miss you.”
“Me too, my love.” He assured her and took her in his arms. Soon they were kissing again and later on went to her room to make love there. Eric made sure he didn’t allow lust to carry him away again by using the condom his brother told him to search for in his room.
Damian had been mad at him at first when he had told him. Eric had thought it was because he had had sex early in life but later discovered it was because he had slept with Oleng without protection. His brother had said he knew boys would be boys but did he want to ruin Oleng’s future by getting her pregnant? Eric hadn’t thought of that then. He said he felt Oleng getting pregnant was unlikely since it was her first time but Damian had called him a fool and told him to pray she didn’t. So he had prayed. He didn’t want to alarm her so he kept everything to himself.
After they made love, they just laid in each other’s arms with the sheet around them. They didn’t say anything for a while.
“Ricky,” Oleng called softly.
“Yes, love.” he responded softly too.
“Please don’t ever forget me. Please. Please promise me we’ll always be together no matter what.” He heard the tears in her voice.
He was touched. “I’ll never forget you. I promise I’ll always be there for you. Never forget me too.”
“I won’t. I promise.”
“I promise too.” he affirmed and kissed her. He linked his little finger with hers and they both said like they always did whenever they made promises to each other.
“These promises we’ve made to each other will never go unfulfilled.”
He kissed her and continued kissing her until he heard his phone ring. It was his mum. It was time to go because he had promised his mum that if she called, he would come home. That was why she had allowed him out in the first place. He answered the call. She told him to come and put finishing touches to his packing and to remember that they were having a farewell dinner for him. He told her he would be home soon. She promised him she would continue calling until she saw him. He ended the call.
All the while he had been talking with his mum, Oleng had been crying. The dreaded moment had finally arrived.
It was already after six in the evening so she knew he had to go. She tried to stop the tears but they kept falling. They both dressed up yet she was still crying. Eric didn’t know what to do. He consoled, petted, scolded, kissed her yet she continued crying. He didn’t know when tears slowly dropped from his eyes also.
This was his best friend now turned girlfriend for God’s sake! In her tears, he told her that four years was just a matter of time. It would fly by soon and he would come back to her and not stay back over there like his brother to work. Or better still, he would send for her since he would be of age then so they would be together and finally get married.
When she saw the tears rolling down his eyes, she cried harder. To confound issues, his mum kept calling him and not knowing what more to do, he told his mum what was keeping him. He gave the phone to Oleng to talk to his mother. She shook her head slowly. He had to put the phone on speaker. The respect he had for his mum grew when she talked to his girlfriend like a mother and a friend.
Oleng stopped crying then. He thanked his mum and ended the call. She cleaned her eyes, walked up to him, gave him a hug and peck and wished him a safe trip. She was about walking away when he held her and passionately kissed her, then he hugged her, said goodbye and walked away without a backward glance.
When he left, Oleng crumbled to the floor and resumed crying. She couldn’t shake off the feeling that that was the last time she would see him.
When Eric got to the gate, he gave the gate man a huge some of money.
“Sir, please, I’m traveling out to further my studies. Please take care of her. As you know, she’s always abandoned. Please always make sure she’s okay. Please make sure she eats and read her books. Please make sure she’s not sick and if she is, please take her to the hospital and take care of her. I promise to repay you when I come back. Please take care of her. Please.” he pleaded passionately.
“I go try my best.”
“Thank you very much, sir.”
“Thank you, sir”
He looked back at the house once more, shook his head and left. He put up a joyous front at the farewell dinner organized by his parents along with all his cousins that were staying with them. His heart was heavy especially as he knew his girlfriend was alone at home at a time like this. He felt hatred for her mum and Tessy for always abandoning her.
He called Zinny and Marvy then and pleaded again with them not to leave Oleng to be won her own. He and Oleng had gone to see them and his two friends to say farewell. He called his two closest friends also and pleaded with them again to take care of Oleng. Dave he knew would keep to his promise but he knew Eddy would be too busy getting down to fulfill his promise. He knew the girls in whatever university he chose to attend were in trouble with such a womanizer like Eddy.
God! He was going to miss such wonderful friends like Eddy, Dave, Zinny, Marvy and above all Oleng. He kept recounting his friendship with all of them as he laid down on his bed to sleep. He didn’t know when tears rolled down his eyes. He was sure going to miss them. He promised himself not to lose contact with them. He wanted to call Oleng but he didn’t want her to start crying again. He would call her immediately he got to California, he resolved.
He however couldn’t call her immediately he got to the airport the following day because he had to make adjustments to his phone and sim card. When he was able to do this, she was the first person he called.
She was happy he had had a safe trip. Though she had stopped crying, she sounded sad. He was sad that she wasn’t happy because he was happy. Damian and Grandma Conrad gave him a rousing welcome.
Two weeks later, his parents went back to Nigeria. His mum cried at their departure. It seemed she realized then that she was going to leave her baby behind. Damian had to promise to come home immediately he could get a break from his place of work.
Though Eric missed Nigeria, it was fun to be with Damian again. They went everywhere together except his office though he went there a couple of times and had fun like they used to before the former left for the states. They realized then how much they had missed each other. Eric even liked Damian’s charming girlfriend, Rachael.